Presidential 2022: Michel Barnier, a trompe-l’œil safe haven

Like an air of déjà vu. At the start of the 2016 school year, a few weeks before the right-wing primary, and a few months before the presidential election, a little music was playing around a potential third man. At the time, facing the two favorites Alain Juppé and Nicolas Sarkozy, Bruno Le Maire dreamed of disrupting the duel. Few had seen coming François Fillon, who will sweep away all the forecasts during the ballot reserved for right-wing supporters.

Today, some say that a similar scenario of third man could play out with the former European commissioner, Michel Barnier, for the moment wedged between the better known figures of Xavier Bertrand, the president of Hauts-de- France, and Valérie Pécresse, at the head of the Ile-de-France region. All three, with Eric Ciotti, the deputy for Alpes-Maritimes, and Philippe Juvin, the mayor of La Garenne-Colombes (Hauts-de-Seine), dream of representing their political family in the presidential election of 2022.

Thursday 9 and Friday 10 September, they all spoke to the deputies of the Les Républicains (LR) party during their parliamentary days in Nîmes. Objective: to convince them of the merits of their candidacy and to rally them to their cause. First to appear on stage, Michel Barnier. An intervention expected by some elected officials who whisper in the corridors: why not him? In an exhaustive but anonymous survey conducted by France Télévisions among all LR parliamentarians, the diplomat seems to have collected an interesting number of supports. He is, with 41 elected, the second after Xavier Bertrand. In the polls, the one who still remains behind Mr. Bertrand and Valérie Pécresse, has progressed in a few months from 8 to 13%.

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“There is a fundamental movement which has started and which will not stop”, hopes Daniel Fasquelle, former deputy of Pas-de-Calais, mayor of Touquet (Pas-de-Calais) and early support. For him, the candidacy of Michel Barnier, long hostile to the primary but now eager to participate if it takes place, is “What the party needs”. “He is both good in substance and form, pursues the chosen one, he looks like a president of which the French will be proud on the steps of the Elysée Palace and he has knowledge and experience on many subjects. “

Michel Barnier would be a good bet in the short term but a risky game in the longer term

Many indeed praise a stature that they judge “Credible” and an acquaintance “Complete” files. In addition to the national and international experience, it is also ” faithfulness “ to the political family that some highlight. “It is a safe haven because he has high vision and has had loyalty to the party”, analysis Damien Abad, deputy for Ain and president of the LR group in the National Assembly.

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